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date: 23 June 2017

Film and Horror

This is an advance summary of a forthcoming article in the Oxford Research Encyclopedia of Communication. Please check back later for the full article.

The term horror film refers to a wide variety of films generally understood to focus on frightening topics like ghosts, monsters, and murder. Horror films have been consistently popular among filmgoers since the earliest days of cinema, in part because the genre has developed so many diverse variations in terms of theme, style, and tone. A substantial body of scholarship has grown up around these films. Scholars have inquired into the nature of the horror film, the reasons it might appeal to audiences, the evolution of the genre across time, and the relationship between these frightening films and the broader culture.